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Pensées Françaises Contemporaines

European Code of Civil Procedure (Student Project)

 Chair Pensées Françaises Contemporaines, at European University Viadrina,

Frankfurt (Oder)




Point 1: For the citizens. This European Code of Civil Procedure aims at reaching the citizens and makes the provisions clear and understandable. There is a need to make the European law of civil procedure accessible concerning cross-border cases.


Point 2: For the unification of European rules of judicial cooperation and civil procedures related to cross-border cases. This code aims at unifying the rules of judicial cooperation in Europe. It reflects the legal relationships of the citizen in court which are based not only on law but on tradition.


Point 3: This code contributes to the building of a European Area of Justice and complies with the principle of the supremacy of law.

Point 4: This code complies with the principle of subsidiarity and proportionality and takes into account the diversity of procedures and languages in the EU.


Point 5: Since the objectives of this code cannot be achieved by the member states individually and can therefore by reason of scale or effects of the action, be better achieved at the Union level, the Union institutions shall take further steps to uniform the civil procedural law in Europe.

Table of contents.


Book 1.- General provisions

Chapter 1.- Principles.

Chapter 2.- Scope

Chapter 3.- Jurisdiction.

Chapter 4.- Actions.

Chapter 5.- Evidence.

Chapter 6.- Proceedings (service).

Chapter 7.- Judgement.


Book 2.- Specific provisions.

Chapter 1.- Proceedings in Family law.

Chapter 2.- Insolvency proceedings.

Chapter 3.- Small Claims.



Article 1

This Code observes the Consolidated Treaties of the European Union under the principle of legality.


Article 2

The main extent of this Code relays on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality prevail.


Article 3

The national sovereignty shall be respected in foreign relations. The European Union shall uphold and promote its values and interests and contribute to the protection of its citizens. It shall contribute to legal security, solidarity and mutual respect among people and the protection of human rights, as well as to the strict observance and the development of international law, including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter.


Article 4

This code provides judicial cooperation and integration in civil matters having cross-border implications, based on the principle of mutual recognition of judgments and of decisions in extrajudicial cases. Such cooperation and integration may include the adoption of measures for the approximation of the laws and regulations of the Member States, based on the leading principles of this present Code.


Article 5

Aiming to fulfil the Fair Trial Principle, all legal proceedings will be fair and nevertheless guarantee that a law shall not be unreasonable or arbitrary. Therefore, this code provides with the following principles:

1. All parties shall have the right to be heard and to give and receive due notice.

2. All the legal acts and proceedings shall be published in an official media and be publicly accessible.

3. All parties shall act in accordance to the principles of good faith and fair dealing.

4. Judicial proceedings are based on the principles of efficiency and speed. In order to accomplish prompt rendition of justice, oral and written presentations shall be used in the most efficient manner.


Article 6

All decisions shall be based upon a reasoned explanation.


Article 7

The parties shall have the right to appeal or be able to have a judicial review, when suitable.


Article 8

All documents in the legal process shall be in the language of one of the countries involved or another language that the countries or the parties involved are willing to accept for an international cooperation.

In case of disagreement, the language of the court shall prevail.


Article 9

All judicial members shall not be influenced by external forces or even by private or partisan interests.


Article 10

This code ensures equal treatment, not accepting any kind of illegitimate discrimination, particularly on the basis of nationality or residence. In addition, it endorses reasonable opportunity for litigants to assert or defend their rights, as well as the proportionality within the legal procedure.


Article 11

Aiming to proceed in all judgments according to the principles proposed by this Code, the judges shall have experience and substantial knowledge.

In order to decide any controversy, the tribunal shall follow an impartial guidance.

Judges should, when necessary, establish communication with judges in other jurisdictions.

All citizens have the right to be legally represented.


Article 12

The courts of a state that has adopted these Principles should provide assistance to the courts of any other state that is conducting a proceeding consistent with these Principles, including the grant of protective or provisional relief and assistance in the identification, preservation, and production of evidence.


Chapter II - SCOPE


Article 13

This European Code of Civil Procedure shall govern civil cases including commercial cases having cross border implications brought to the court in the European Union. For the purpose of this code, cross border implications shall be deemed connected with any case in which at least one of the parties is domiciled or habitually resident in a Member State other than the Member State of the court or tribunal seized. The other party may be domiciled or habitually resident in a non EU country. Nevertheless the scope of this code shall specifically exclude arbitration, public law including taxation, costumes and administrative matters of Member States.




Article 14

Subject to this Code, persons domiciled in a Member State shall, whatever their nationality, may be sued in the courts of that Member State.


Article 15

A person domiciled in a Member State may in another Member State, be sued:

- In matters relating to a contract, in the courts for the place of performance of the obligation in question.



Article 16

A person domiciled in a Member State may, in another Member State, be sued in matters relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict, in the courts for the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur.


Article 17

In real-estate matters, only the court of the place where the building is located has jurisdiction.


Article 18

Jurisdiction over a party may be exercised by consent of the parties to submit the dispute to the tribunal.


Chapter IV - ACTIONS

Article 19

The action is the right of the plaintiff to be heard on the merits of his claim so that the judge may declare it founded or unfounded.

Article 20

The right of action is available to all those who have a legitimate interest in the success or dismissal of a claim, without prejudice to those cases where the law confers the right of action solely upon persons whom it authorises to raise or oppose a claim, or to defend a particular interest.

Article 21

A plea of non-admissibility is any ground whose purpose is to get the adversary's claim declared inadmissible, without entering into the merits of the case, for lack of a right of action, such as a not being the proper party, lack of interest, statute of limitations, fixed time-limit or res judicata.

Article 22

Lex fori (the procedural law of the court seized) applies to determine the current and personal interest. Nevertheless lex fori does not apply to proper party, legitimate interest, fixed time limit and res judicata. The law applicable to the merits of the case has to be applied.


Article 23

Anyone who has suffered harm caused by an infringement of competition law by an undertaking or by an association of undertakings can effectively exercise the right to claim full compensation for that harm from that undertaking or association. This Code sets out rules coordinating the enforcement of the competition rules by competition authorities and the enforcement of those rules in damages actions before national courts.



Article 24

A collective redress action is available according to domestic procedures of the Member States to consumers harmed by antitrust infringement.


Chapter V - EVIDENCE

Article 25

Anything that may contribute to clarifying the matter and that is not in violation of the law may be admitted as evidence. In particular documents, witness testimony, expert opinions and inspections may constitute evidence.


Article 26

Well-known facts do not require proof. The same applies to the facts known to the office, but it is not given to the parties. This does not exclude evidence to the contrary.


Article 27

Persons interviewed may be faced in order to clarify the contradictions.


Article 28

A factual circumstance may be presumed proven if a party had the opportunity to present his opinion as to the collected evidence

Article 29

A court shall evaluate on the basis of all evidence collected whether a given circumstance has been proven




Article 30

Since the objectives of this code cannot be achieved by the member states and can therefore by reason of scale or effects of the action, be better achieved at the Community level, the Community shall take further steps to uniform the civil procedural law in Europe.


Article 31

1. The judicial documents shall be transmitted directly and by rapid means between local bodies designated by the member states.

2. The judicial documents can be transmitted directly or by the usage of post when the party considers it appropriate.


Article 32

Service of documents, including applications for legal aid, shall be in one of these following languages:

1. The official language(s) of the member state where the competent receiving authority is based.

2. Another language the member state indicates it is willing to accept.


Article 33

The applicant for legal aid shall be informed by the transmitting and receiving agency of the possibility that documents may be refused if they are not in a language the addressee is able to understand.


Article 34

If the documents are in a language the addressee does understand, s/he will have to accept them.

If the addressee still requests a translation and this translation can be proved to be unnecessary, the addressee will have to pay for the costs incurred because of the translation and will be fined additionally.



Article 35

A standard form is also made available in all official languages of the EU.


Article 36

1. ‘Transmitting agencies’ shall be competent for the transmission of judicial or extrajudicial documents to be served in another member state, while ‘receiving agencies’ shall be competent for the receipt of judicial or extrajudicial documents from another member state.

2. ‘Transmitting agency’ can be public officers, authorities or other persons.

3. A member state shall designate at least one transmitting agency and one receiving agency, or one agency to perform both functions.


Article 37

Under the term “document” for the purposes of this chapter is meant judicial and/or extrajudicial documents

Judicial documents within this context shall cover writs, judgements, pleadings and warrants.

Extrajudicial documents shall cover not only documents on the case file but also the documents which are required to be served regardless of whether the proceedings have been commenced or not.


Article 38

The parties to a dispute and/or their representatives have the obligation of serving documents, besides the serving of a judgement which is the obligation of the court.


Article 39

Documents shall be deemed served by serving them on the party or the representative of the party.


Article 40

The transmission between transmitting agencies and receiving agencies shall be carried out by any appropriate means, provided that the content of the document received is true and faithful to that of the document forwarded and that all the information in it is easily legible.


Article 41

1. The document to be transmitted shall be accompanied by a request drawn up using the standard form.

2. On the receipt of a document, a receiving agency shall, as soon as possible and in any event within seven days of receipt, send a receipt to the transmitting agency by the swiftest possible means in order to secure the missing information or documents.

3. Receiving agencies that receive a document for service but without territorial jurisdiction to serve shall forward the documents and also request to the agency that has territorial jurisdiction.

4. The receiving agency itself shall serve the documents in accordance with the Articles 42, 45, 46, 47 and 49 of this chapter.


Article 42

Receiving agencies shall serve the document according with the following means of service:

1. Personal, when receiving agency serves the addressee by in-hand delivery.

2. Substitute service, when receiving agencies serve the document to the addresses home, to the member of family who is of age.

3. Publication in mass media means of communication, when the addressee cannot be found. In this case the area of the publication shall be the place that has the highest probability for the person wanted to get to know the content of the document.

4. Receiving agencies should take the reasonable measures to find the addressee.

Every second means of service shall be used after making sure that it is not possible to serve an addressee by the former means of service.


Article 43

If the person consented in writing the service of documents can be exercised by the technical means of communication, in which event service is completed upon transmission.


Article 44

When the formalities concerning the service of document have been completed, a certificate of completion of those formalities shall be drawn up in the standard form.


Article 45

1. Receiving agencies shall inform the addressee using the standard form that he may refuse to accept the document to be served at the time of service or by returning the document to the receiving agency within one week at certain circumstances:

a) If the person mentioned in the document does not live there and the addressee is not a family member of that person.

b) If the document does not meet requirements under the Article 32 of this chapter.

2. In the other cases not mentioned above documents shall be considered accepted.


Article 46

1. After correcting the document according to Article 45.1 documents shall be served for the second time.

2. In case of the wrong address indicated in the service of writ the receiving agency shall serve the writ by the means of mass media.



Article 47

A minor or an incompetent person in a Member State shall be served according to the member state legislation where the service is made.


Article 48

Serving legal persons shall be exercised by delivering the document to the clerk authorised by the law of the Member State to receive the service of documents.


Article 49

The date of the service of documents shall be the date on which it is served in accordance with the law of the member state addressed.


Article 50

The service of a writ shall be exercised in 120 days after filing a complaint. The judge shall dismiss the action if the defendant is not served within the time.



Article 51

Service of writ establishes personal jurisdiction over a defendant, which means that in case of not appearing before court, the judge may bring default judgement against him.


Article 52

1. Natural persons involved in a dispute covered by this code shall be entitled to receive appropriate legal aid in order to ensure their effective access to justice.

2. In the code the following expenses shall be covered:

a) Pre-litigation advice with a view to reaching a settlement prior to bringing legal proceeding.

b) Legal assistance and representation in court.

c) Exemptions from the cost of proceedings of the receiving party.

d) The fees of persons mandated by the court to perform acts during the proceedings.

e) The costs of interpretation.

f) The costs of translation of documents required by court.

g) Costs related to travel.

3. In order to prevent taking manifestly unfounded cases to court, under this code using the pre-litigation service shall be compulsory for the applicant to have the litigation expenses covered by member state.


Article 53

The appropriate legal aid shall be defined according to the economical situation of an applicant and shall cover the full or partial costs of proceedings.


Article 54

In Member States in which a losing party is liable for the costs of the opposing party, if the recipient loses the case, the legal aid shall cover the costs incurred by the opposing party, if it would have covered such costs when the recipient had been domiciled or habitually resident in the Member State in which the court is sitting.


Article 55

1. The application for approval of legal aid shall be submitted to the court hearing the case.

2. In the application the party should include a declaration describing its personal and economical circumstances (family circumstances, profession, assets, income and financial obligations) and should attach the corresponding proof to it.


Article 56

Legal aid shall be approved by the appropriate court without asking the opposing party. It shall be approved separately at each level of jurisdiction.


Article 57

Member States may define thresholds above which legal aid applicants are deemed partly or totally able to bear the costs of proceedings.


Article 58

Member states need not to provide legal assistance or representation in the courts or tribunals especially designed to enable litigants to make their case in person, except when the courts or any other competent authority otherwise decide to ensure equality of parties or in view of the complexity of the case.

Article 59

If ensuring the equality of parties require to be represented by legal representative or it is required under the law of Member State in which the court is sitting, the party shall be assigned a legal representative whom the party has selected.


Article 60

The court has to repeal its approval of assistance with court costs if:

1. The party has intentionally or grossly negligently made false statements as to its personal or economic circumstances.

2. The party has intentionally or grossly negligently failed to inform the court about significant improvements of its income, assets and financial circumstances.







Article 61

1. A judgment is a formal decision made by a court following proceedings in the matter set out by an action.

2. A judgement is considered final only after the appeal has been waved or exhausted.


Article 62

Every decision of the court must be based on the law and the legal opinion of the court shall be explained in connection to the presented dispute.




Article 63

1. The court is bound by the action and it either confirms or dismisses it.

2. The court may not allow any application that is not connected to the matter of the action.


Article 64

A court is not bound by any previous judgement of this or any other court, it shall however take into account that the decisions in the similar cases shall be similar unless there is an objective reason not to be.


Article 65

1. A judgement shall include accurate identification of the parties along with their legal representatives, the court and the judges making the decisions.

2. A judgement shall include an operative part. The operative part shall be graphically distinct within a judgement.

3. The operative part shall be preceded by adequate explanation of the legal opinion of the court.


Article 66

A court decides about the payment of the costs of the proceedings in a judgement. The court shall take into account the outcome of the proceedings as well as the means of the parties.


Article 67

In case the defendant does not respond to the summons a court issues a default judgement in favour of the plaintiff.


Article 68

If the parties agree on the outcome of the action and this agreement is in accordance with all applicable laws a court approves of this agreement in a judgement.


Article 69

European Payment Order serves the purpose of rapid recovery of uncontested debts in cross-border cases.

Article 70

Applications for a European Payment Order shall be made using standard forms provided by a court and include all the information required by it.


Article 71

1. A court shall examine the application if all the required information are included and whether the claim appears to be founded.

2. If all the criteria are met, the court issues the European Payment Order that shall be delivered into defendants own hands.

3. In case that the criteria are not met, the court shall reject the application.


Article 72

The European Payment Order is directly enforceable in every Member State after

30 days following the delivery.


Article 73

1. The defendant may lodge a statement of opposition to the European Payment Order with the court of origin within 30 days.

2. The court shall decide upon the examination of the statement of opposition whether the reasons of the defendant are valid and depending on this fact confirms or cancels the European Payment Order.

3. If the European Payment Order is cancelled due to the statement of opposition by the defendant, regular trial takes place and the application for a European Payment Order is considered an action.


Article 74

A judgement given in a Member State shall be recognised in the other Member State without any special procedure being required.


Article 75

A party who wishes to invoke in a Member State a judgement given in another Member State shall produce a copy of the judgement and court issued certificate providing verification of the judgement.


Article 76

A judgement given in a Member State which is enforceable in that Member State shall be enforceable in the other Member State without any declaration of enforceability being required.


Article 77

1. An enforceable judgement shall be carried with by any measures existing in the law of the Member State addressed.

2. The procedure for the enforcement of judgement given in another Member State shall be governed by the law of the Member State addressed under the same conditions as a judgement given in the Member State addressed.


Article 78

For the purpose of enforcement of a judgement given in another Member State, the applicant shall provide the competent enforcement authority with a copy of the judgement and court issued certificate providing verification of the judgement.


Article 79

In the event of an application for refusal of enforcement of a judgement, the court in the Member State addressed may, on the application of the person against whom enforcement is sought, limit or suspend the proceedings or make enforcement conditional to the measures necessary to protect the interests of both parties.


Article 80

1. On the application of any interested party, the recognition or the enforcement of a judgement shall be refused:

a) If such recognition or enforcement is manifestly contrary to public policy (ordre public) in the Member State addressed.

b) When the judgement was given in default or appearance, if the defendant was not served with necessary documentation in timely manner.

c) If the judgement is irreconcilable with a judgement given between the same parties in the Member State addressed or earlier judgement involving the same cause of action and the same parties given in any Member State or in a third State.

2. The court of Member State addresses cannot review the factual or procedural aspects (including jurisdiction) of the judgement unless it is stated in this Article (83).


Article 81

The court shall decide on the application for refusal of recognition and enforcement without delay.


Article 82

The decision on the application for refusal of enforcement may be appealed against by either party.


Article 83

1. If a judgement contains a measure or an order which is not known in the law of the Member State addresses, it shall be adapted to such a measure or order that is known to the law of the Member State addressed and has effects equivalent or similar to the highest extent possible.

2. Such adaption shall not result in effects going beyond those provided for in the law of the Member State of origin.

3. Any party may challenge the adaption of the measure or order before a court.


Article 84

In case of contradictions between the provision of a Member State domestic code and provision of this code, this codes provision shall prevail.








Book II.- Specific provisions (to be continued).


Chapter 1.- Proceedings in Family law (Brussels II regulation, Maintenance regulation)


Chapter 2.- Insolvency proceedings (Insolvency regulation).


Chapter 3.- Small Claims.

This code is a result of a seminar (“The Building of European Civil Procedure”) which took place during the winter semester (2014/15) in English language at the European University Viadrina in Germany by a group of students of different origins in terms of nationality and field of study. There were law students, political science students and cultural students. There were more than eight countries and languages represented, including Brazil, Turkey, Lebanon, Germany, France, Poland, Georgia and Slovakia.

  •    Bailly, Clémence
  •   Bayraktar, Nurcan
  •   Dietz, Juliane
  •    Ferreira, Nathalia Pompeu Bezerra
  •   Görüzogly, Baris
  •    Kanditt, Jasmin
  •   Khvedelidze, Ana
  •   Kucera, Matej
  •   Lima, Edson Junior S.
  •   Muchtar, Ayah Madjed
  •   Pavlic, Sandra
  •   Pinto, Marcos Paulo de Alvarenga
  •   Podgorska, Sonia,
  •   Sadzynska, Magdalena
  •   Szczepanska, Alicja
  •   Scoton Samira
  •   Türkogly, Sergül
  •   Usta, Munevver
  •   Wisniewska, Marta,
  •   Yaghi, Remi

Law professor: Emmanuel Jeuland, Guest professor, Chaire Pensée Française contemporaine, at the Viadrina University, University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, France.